Joseph 'Jo Jo' Williams

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b. 1920, Coahoma, Mississippi, USA. One of a legion of musicians whose name and record follow one another with Pavlovian accuracy, Williams played in bands whose members sometimes worked with better-known…
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b. 1920, Coahoma, Mississippi, USA. One of a legion of musicians whose name and record follow one another with Pavlovian accuracy, Williams played in bands whose members sometimes worked with better-known artists. Raised in north-west Mississippi and on the outskirts of Memphis, his first steps in music were with baling wire strung on the wall. During the 30s he witnessed Son House and Willie Brown playing for country suppers. He developed his guitar-playing in Memphis in the early 40s before moving on to Chicago. In 1953 he played his first professional gig, with pianist Lazy Bill Lucas. Two years later, Williams formed his own group with Lucas, drummer Johnny Swanns and Lucas’ niece, ‘Miss Hi Fi’, singing. He then teamed up with harmonica player Mojo Buford in a band with Dave Members and Cadillac Sam Burton. With Buford, he became a member of Muddy Waters’ Junior Band, playing Smitty’s Corner when Waters was out of town. In 1959, he made two records, the first unnumbered, for the Atomic-H label. ‘All Pretty Wimmens’ epitomizes raucous, impromptu blues at its best, all the better for being obscure, as was the follow-up, ‘Afro Shake Dance’. In 1962, he moved, with Lucas and Buford, to Minneapolis, playing bass in a group that recorded as Mojo And The Chi Fours, the material released on Folk Art and Vernon. Two years later, the band had two singles released on Adell. Williams recorded with Lazy Bill for Lucas’ own label in 1970, and retired from music some time in the 70s.